Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay-ded Away to Soup

Fay has officially left the area although we are still experiencing occasional rain and thunderstorms from bands feeding into her. Our unofficial grand total of Fay rain is 6.3 inches. Woohoo! Thank you, Lord, for the rain! Everyone returns to work and/or school tomorrow; their Fay-cation is over.

We had an old-timey tent revival for a little while this a.m. when the lights went out at the start of the worship service. We reached for the hymnals for words since power point requires power to run (duh!), opened the doors for sunlight - it was not storming - and away we went. Fun, fun, fun! PTL! Some people pulled out their little pocket flashlights to see the words. With no A/C & all that heat generated by everyone singing, the choir was allowed to dis-robe during the welcoming of visitors. (Now don't be dirty! You know what I mean!). Electricity returned just in time for the choir special. I was glad because it was "Let the Veil Down, we're in the presence of the Lord..."

When days are dreary, I often like a good pot of soup. I invented one on Friday using a pound of the cubed steak (sprinkled with garlic powder, salt & pepper then dredged in flour) dropped into a boiling pot of water flavored with beef bouillon, bay leaf, steak sauce and containing mixed veggies, stewed tomatoes and cubed red potatoes. It was good but I still prefer my rendition of my niece's mother-in-law's Chicken Tortilla Soup, so that's the recipe for the day:

Start with 12 C of water in a soup pot. Heat on medium/high temperature to boiling and while you are waiting for the water to boil, start dropping in the ingredients. Add 12 bouillon cubes, 6 each chicken and beef. Trim, cube then add to pot, 1.5 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast. Chop and add one medium onion. Add one can of 10.something oz. Roitel Tomatoes (or the generic diced tomatoes and green chilies) and one of 14.5 oz. stewed tomatoes (cut into bite-sized if too big). Measure out and add 1.5 t. each of ground comino (cumin) & chili powder; 2 t. each dried cilantro & Worcestershire sauce; .5 t. black pepper and 2 T steak sauce. Mince and add 4 cloves of garlic.

Your soup should be boiling. Cover with a tilted lid, reduce heat to simmer and let cook while you work on the tortilla chips: Cut up corn tortillas - I usually cut them in half then into strips about an inch wide. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry handfuls for 4-5 minutes. Dump onto absorbent material (I usually use a paper bag with paper towels on top) and salt while hot. These homemade chips are very popular so I make what looks like waaaaay too much then we eat them all.

30 minutes before serving, raise temperature back to boiling (if it is not), stir in 1 C white rice then cover & reduce heat again. Original recipe included the option of adding bite sized pieces of zucchini now too but I've never tried it that way, preferring to make my own options. I guess brown rice could be used but I'm uncertain as to how long it would have to cook.

OPTIONAL: 10 minutes before serving, add a can of black beans OR garbanzo beans OR whole kernel corn (Rachel liked the corn best but I didn't care for the sweet crunchies in this soup) OR any other canned veggie you think would be good. You do not have to drain off the liquid.

The soup can be eaten as soon as the chicken is done/tender or can be simmered a long time for more flavor (crock pot friendly - but it has to be a BIG pot). Remember to stir occasionally and to add more water if needed.
To assemble: Put a handful of chips into bowl. Ladle over the soup. Top with your favorite shredded cheese.
Oooooeeeee. It'll make you pat your feet. I know, because my father-in-law said so. BTW, today is his birthday. Happy 81 years, Dad!

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